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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 13:34 GMT
Is a degree worth it?
Graduation
Graduation can be the key to higher earnings
Students have never owed as much as those currently at university, with fees and loans leaving many with worries about debts.

And as part of a campaign to highlight student poverty, union leaders say that students would be better off on the dole.

But is the financial struggle a worthwhile investment?

All the evidence suggests that, in the long term, getting a degree will be one of the most secure routes to a better-paid job.

The government, angered by claims over student hardship, produced the figure of 400,000 as the extra amount a graduate might expect to earn, compared with a non-graduate.

The link between higher earnings and education has been established in previous studies.

Pay hikes for graduates

Research last year by the London School of Economics showed that a female graduate can earn up to 26% more than a woman who did not continue her education beyond A-levels.

And a man can earn about 23% more by going on to complete a degree course.

There has also been evidence of the financial advantages of staying in education from researchers at Queen Mary and Westfield College in London.

This concluded that every extra year in education beyond 16 was worth an 8% increase in annual pay.

This study used identical female twins to exclude other social or gender factors - in an attempt to isolate the specific impact of different levels of education.

Graduate tax

Over a working lifetime, this extra earning power could be worth an average of 50,000 for each extra year in education.

With a majority of young people set to become graduates by the end of the decade, this could mean even more disadvantages in the jobs market for those who do not gain degrees.

And the financial benefits of having a degree could also be a factor in determining whether a graduate tax could be introduced to fund students.

See also:

12 Jul 00 | Education
16 Aug 01 | Education
20 Feb 02 | Education
20 Feb 02 | Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


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